HR professionals in demand

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Recruitment of HR professionals has remained strong and will continue to do so over the next year, according to the findings of the Michael Page New Zealand 2013/14 Salary and Employment Forecast.

The report revealed strong growth in HR hiring particularly within the professional and financial services and industrial and manufacturing area.

Businesses looking to grow aggressively are investing in employing HR specialists that can deliver in-house training programs, career and workforce planning and performance management programmers Pete Macauley, Regional Director of Michael Page in New Zealand told HRM Online.         

HR with social media skills are also highly sought after according to the report.

“We’re seeing demand for HR professionals with social media skills not just around employment branding but recruitment,” Macauley said. “Businesses have continued to focus on their costs and employers are seeking professionals that can provide insight into the effective use and management of LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter to increase candidate attraction.”

There is similarly a high demand for contract and temp HR professionals to not only cover temporary leave absences, but also health and safety projects and recruiting requirements.

“There are many organisations that have in the past restructured and disestablished specific HR resources throughout the GFC and they’ve now got to the point where business confidence is returning and they’ve identified areas within the business that HR provide value… and it’s time now to invest but they may not be confident enough to invest in a permanent capacity,” Macauley said.

Meanwhile, HR will have a busy year ahead as employers but a focus on staff attraction and retention.

New Zealand’s professional employment market continues to be challenged by a shortage of quality talent with the results of the Salary and Employment Forecast showing 48% of surveyed employers expecting a professional skills shortage in the next 12 months.

“New Zealand continues to be impacted by a shortage of professional talent across a range of industries, and employers are tightening their focus on attraction and retention strategies as a result,” Macauley said.

During the recession, Macauley explains, businesses didn’t have the ability to invest in graduate programmes as they were doing beforehand. “Therefore the calibre of talent coming through from entry level to mid-level and senior just isn’t there or hasn’t been there because there has been that void of graduates that normally would have been put on three or four years ago.”

To attract and retain talent employers surveyed said they are relying on promoting a strong company culture while 25% offer recognition and reward incentives. Flexible work arrangements are also a favoured tool with 81% choosing it as a popular work-life benefit.

Salary remains a key attraction and retention strategy, especially in skill shortages professions. Of the surveyed employers 52% expect the skills shortage will cause salaries to rise above the inflation rate, and 62% said they will award salary increases to all of their employees with the amount based on performance.

“With the state of New Zealand’s economic market over the past few years, many employers have been limited in their ability to provide strong salary and remuneration increases. While domestic economic conditions continue to be a factor likely to impact salary levels over the next 12 months, according to 72% of surveyed employers, the ability to offer competitive salaries will be a key determining factor in keeping top talent within businesses,” Macauley said.

Macauley recommended HR professionals to benchmark their salaries internally and comparing externally and consider the possibility they will need to increase them to remain attractive to employees and external talent.

“There is great hiring intentions of the next 12 months and that speaks positively towards our economy and business confidence,” he said. “HR will play a key role in ensuring the right talent is being sourced and being developed internally to ensure businesses continue to move forward.”

Other key findings of the report:

  • 52% of surveyed employers view current hiring activity as steady compared to the last 12 months, while 21% believe it is slightly stronger.
  • 49% of surveyed employers expect staff turnover in the next 12 months, with 32% citing the key reason employees will leave is to broaden their work experience.

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